DETROIT (FOX 2) - Seven thousand more union autoworkers will go on strike after the UAW president called on Ford and General Motors plants to walk off the line.
President Shawn Fain spurred workers at Ford's Chicago Assembly and GM's Lansing Delta Assembly plants to go on strike after negotiations between the two automakers failed to reach meaningful progress. Fain said Stellantis was spared because of a last-minute break-through in negotiations before the Friday announcement.
"Our courageous members at these two plants are the next wave of reinforcements in our fight for record contracts," Fain said during livestream Friday.
"Moments before this broadcast, Stellantis made significant progress on the 2009 cost of living allowance, the right not to cross the picket line, as well as the right to strike over product commitments and plant closures and outsourcing moratoriums," Fain said. "We are excited and hope it continues. Until then, we will keep building our arsenal of democracy and we will win. Our strategy is working."
According to Stellantis' last-known counteroffer, they had also offered a 20% wage increase, but they did not offer an elimination of tiered workers.
Now on Day 15 of the strike, the move by the labor group has continued to expand in both its volume and the ripples economically. Original assessments said even a 10-day strike could cause $5 billion in economic losses.
"We knew going into this fight that the road ahead was going to be difficult, and we knew that it was unlikely this would be quick," Fain said. "To quote the Reverend Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.: ‘The arc of the moral universe is long. But it bends towards justice. UAW family, you are the forest that bends that arc. Our anger is righteous and our struggle is just. We are fed up with corporate greed and we are fed up with corporate excess."
Fain also referenced the multiple incidents where UAW workers have been injured while striking, condemning the violence after workers members were hit by a truck in Flint and Massachusetts.
In a statement posted on their website, GM said they still hadn't received a counteroffer from the UAW after their Sept. 21 proposal.
"Calling more strikes is just for the headlines, not real progress. The number of people negatively impacted by these strikes is growing and includes our customers who buy and love the products we build," said Gerald Johnson, who is leading talks for GM. "For our part, we continue to stand ready and willing to negotiate in good faith to reach an agreement that benefits you and doesn’t let the non-union manufacturers win."
GM said it has offered a record proposal.
Stellantis said it was committed to getting a contract.
"Stellantis has been intensely working with the UAW to find solutions to the issues that are of most concern to our employees while ensuring the Company can remain competitive given the market’s fierce competition. We have made progress in our discussions, but gaps remain," the company said.
Ford has not released a statement and instead will hold a virtual hearing with updates on negotiations at 1 p.m.
Last week, the UAW called on dozens more plants, but fewer workers to go on strike after negotiations with Stellantis and GM didn't progress. Now, 25,000 workers make up the strike. The employees called on last week worked at plants across the U.S. in 20 states. See the 38 facilities here.
The week before, plants in Missouri, Ohio, and in Wayne, Michigan were the first to walk off.
The strike targets in Lansing and Chicago represent further pressure from the UAW, days after they were joined by President Joe Biden on the line in Belleville.
The union initially was asking for a 46% pay raise, a 32-hour work week with 40 hours of pay, the tier system removed, and restoration of traditional pensions for new hires, among other demands. However, the union said it is now willing to accept a pay raise percentage in the mid-30s.